Factory and Production Line Layout

Proper design of a factory takes into many variables, including material handling, future expected growth, integration of automation, robotics, and personal, initial (fixed) and variable cost structures. Some of the subtle layout requirements, such as supervision, often lead to large changes in the overall efficiency of a factory. The challenge is to be aware of these subtle requirements and how they interact with the factory as a whole.

Re-design of an assembly process can often lead to enhanced line efficiency. A variety of techniques are used to improve productivity and quality. Modern industrial engineering practice calls for proper integration of the human interface with automation and robotics . The movement to China has forced US based manufacturing firms to increase production per hour, and the (older) movement to Japan requires that quality of the products increase all of the time. Inefficient factories will soon fade away.

Tight integration of the various departments of the factory are required to minimize inventory. Reduction in inventory has the effect of lowering inventory cost, increases the likelihood of quality problems being discovered earlier in the production cycle, and causing unreliable machinery to be modified or replaced in order to sustain throughput.

When designing a factory layout, it is necessary to spend time talking to management as well as floor supervisors and production workers. Experience on the manufacturing floor reveals subtle information on the operations, often allowing for a significant improvement in the overall factory efficiency.

Factory Relocation:

Having helped move a number of factories over the years, including well known names such as Weber BBQ Co. and Elgin Clock Co., we are well versed in how to avoid the pitfalls that occur so often when a factory is moved. Horror stories of how production ceased because someone did not have the power upgraded early in the cycle, or failed to have proper water distribution, etc. abound in the industry, sometimes causing failure of the company as a whole.

By properly preparing the new factory, and by properly sequencing the movement of machinery and stock, it is possible to minimize production interruption. This keeps the customers happy while keeping expenses to a minimum.